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A Rare 1901 Silver McKinley Inaugural Medal

BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,486 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited April 3, 2024 8:19PM in U.S. Coin Forum

The 1901 McKinley inaugural medal was the first piece of its kind in the modern era. Prior to then, the official inaugural medals had been connected to ribbons. The 1901 piece was the first standalone medal as we think of them today.

The 1901 Bronze medal is common for an early inaugural medal. The mintage was thought to be between 3,000 and 4,000. Collectors view it as one of "the easy ones."

The silver medal is another matter. The mintage was 55 pieces. These medals were given to those who worked on the inaugural committee and probably others who put in a fair amount of time to make the event a success.

These pieces don't come to market that often. The late Joe Levine, who wrote and excellent little book on inaugural medals in 1980, guessed that many pieces were still in the possession of family members as heirlooms.

Some of the few pieces I have seen had problems. They have been improperly cleaned or what the grading services call "environmental damage." These medals were issued in a leather presentation box, and I imagine that the leather was the medal's enemy. It either caused damage or encouraged cleaning which resulted in similar problems.

This is the last silver inaugural medal that is collectable until 1953. In subsequent years, the mintages were limited to less than 5 pieces which were given to VIPs or which ended museums.

A dealer offered me a silver Warren G. Harding medal a few years ago. According to Joe Levine, there are 6 known. The Harding medal is rare in any medal. Since the asking price was $32,000, I was not ready to pull the trigger at that time.

In 1853, the Republicans won the White House for the first time since 1928. The Inaugural Committee offer silver medals to the public for the first time, and the mintage ballooned to over 800 pieces. Since then silver medals have been offered to the public on a regular basis.

A 1953 Eisenhower silver inaugural medal

Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?


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